SchoolArts Magazine

September 2017

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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and skills, and why they would cover it. Through their answers, students were consistently able to demon- strate that they understood the role o f public art in their lives. Learning to Knit and Stitch Due to budgetary constraints, I chose to teach students to finger knit. I found that students easily learned how to finger knit in one practice session and that it was accessible to students of all levels. A great video for teaching finger knit- ting is available at www.wikihow. com/Finger-Knit. During three class sessions, students focused on creating long chains. We created thick chains by knitting with two strands of yarn used together. When we had accu - mulated a large amount of knitted c hains, students learned the run- ning stitch and sewed the chains t ogether into long rectangles in order to create a piece of fabric large enough to wrap around a tree. During the process, students discovered that they could sew the chains in a variety of shapes and patterns, resulting in a visu - ally interesting finished fabric. W hile the knitting and sewing was time-consuming, students found it relaxing and they repeatedly stated that this was their favorite project. Installation On installation day, students brought our large pieces of fabric outside and sewed them around the trunks of the trees using the same running stitch they learned in the classroom. Students were excited to see their hard work installed in front of the school. I received numerous compliments from teachers, administrators, and other students during the next few days. I was amazed b he energ students had and the level of critical thinking the were able to demonstrate. Student Feedback To end the project, we spent one class period outside reflecting on our fin- ished work. I asked students to answer q uestions related to the process, for- mal properties, intent, and success o f the project, and to share any addi- tional thoughts they had about the p roject. Listening to student feedback throughout the project and reading their written reflections, I concluded that this was the most universally loved project I have ever taught. In addition to being so well liked, this project got my students thinking about art in the world around them and sparked an interest in textile arts for several students who continue to make their own work at home. This interactive project really energized students and allowed them to see how their own creativity can be reflected in their daily environment. Jennifer Hartman taught this lesson at Reynolds Middle School in Prosper, Texas. She now teaches at Pecan Creek Elemen- tary School in Denton, Texas. N A T I O N A L S T A N D A R D Presenting: Interpreting and sharing artistic work. W E B L I N K www.ted.com/speakers/magda_ sayeg Students covered six trees in the front of their school in finger-knitted yarn in this contemporary installation.

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